July 7, 2020

SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) [Organization]

An organization with more than 8,200 members, SACNAS is dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM fields by providing resources and support for college students through STEM professionals. The programming and resources offered by SACNAS include both the annual SACNAS Diversity in STEM Conference held at the end of October and regional conferences throughout the year. The 2021 New England regional conference is going to be hosted by your very own Harvard University (after having been canceled this year due to COVID). Beyond conferences, SACNAS offers professional development programming for students and professionals, free webinars, and an online newsletter/blog called STEM + Culture Chronicle. The SACNAS Biography Project is another great resource that features first-person narratives by Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists who hold advanced degrees in science.

In all, SACNAS provides excellent opportunities to connect with Chicano/Hispanic and Native American colleagues and students and to learn about and become a part of efforts to promote diversity in STEM. For Chicano/Hispanic and Native American members of our Neurobiology community SACNAS also provides valuable resources and professional development opportunities. In addition, the mission of SACNAS is well-aligned with that of the Ed Furshpan and David Potter Native American High School Program here at HMS. Begun by the eponymous Drs. Furshpan and Potter of our Neurobiology Department, this program introduces Native American high school students from the Hopi and Fort Peck reservations to topics in medicine and biomedical research (with a heavy emphasis on neurobiology) and serves as a bridge to undergraduate research programs for these students.

Action items for our community

  • Consider attending the annual SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference. The 2020 conference is currently scheduled for Oct. 22-24 in Long Beach, CA. No word yet on whether the conference will be virtually held or canceled, but if it is canceled all registration fees will be refunded. 
  • Plan to attend the 2021 New England Regional SACNAS Conference here at Harvard. Though an exact date hasn’t been announced, the originally scheduled date was on a Sunday in late April. Contact Dr. Karina Gonzalez Herrera with questions.

If you are Chicano/Hispanic or Native American and hold a PhD, submit your name to be featured in the SACNAS Biography Project. For graduate students and other community members who have not yet earned their PhD but who would still like to share their stories, consider writing for the STEM + Culture Chronicle.